A centenarian celebration in Elkin

Anthony GonzalezStaff Writer

December 23, 2012

“All it takes is a youthful heart, some tenacity, clean living, and the grace of God,” says Beulah Howell who provided some secrets to longevity.

And when Howell speaks on longevity, people listen.

That’s because on Christmas Day Howell will turn 100-years-old.

In Howell’s honor her family and the staff at the Hugh Chatham Nursing Center threw her a celebration yesterday.

“She’s very intelligent, very independent, loves talking about her children, is extremely active and she even went to prom night in the spring,” said Sherry Swaim, LPN, who was helping Howell prepare for her grand entrance.

The spunky centenarian has been planning for this birthday celebration for over a year, say staff. Many point to how sharp and whitty she is for her age.

“She’s got her mind just like you and I,” said Melissa Holt, CNA.

When Howell was a five-year-old she recalls walking in a field near her home when she felt it was God who let her know that his hand was upon her and that he would guide her through her life.

Howell trusts Jesus as her savior and she rededicated her life to him at the age of sixteen.

Howell became a pianist and played for her church until she was age 90.

“Today, times are different compared to when I was younger,” said the centenarian. “When I went to school, I recall attending the 1st through 3rd grade in a one-room school and school only went to grade 11.

Our home where my family lived was lighted by oil lamps,” reflected Howell smiling.

Howell reflected on the first time she listened to the noise coming out of a radio. “It was at the neighborhood general store.” She recalled watching an airplane land on a neighbor’s field when she was a child too.

Her fondest and most humorous moment as a child was when she found out that when her brother at three-years-old was told of her birth on Christmas by her mother. “He protested because he wanted a dog from Santa instead,” chucked Howell.

Howell, the third child in a family of eight other siblings mentioned her three brother’s served during war; Weldon in the Marines, Arnold in the Navy, and Calvin in the Army.She mentioned she was always proud of their service to the country.

When asked about holding her first job, Howell said that when she was 16-years old she had a job that paid $1 per day in wages.

Celebrating a birthday on Christmas was something Howell had to get used to she claimed.

“You get ripped off on gifts,” said the birthday champion. “You sort of package up the one gift and try to figure out if it was for Christmas and your birthday.”

However, she doesn’t let the Christmas season go by without letting everyone know about her late husband, Clyde Howell. The Howell’s were married on Christmas Eve in 1933 and married for 70-years.

Though Howell was happy to celebrate with family and friends attending from from as far as Myrtle Beach, SC , Texas, and even England, she took a moment prior to attending the birthday bash to stare at a photo of her and Clyde.